Showing posts from September, 2007

On my way home tonight

I usually enjoy my midnight, half-hour trips home. This is one of the things I love most about working in Alabang. In fact, this is precisely why I chose to work near the suburbs of Manila, when most other exciting things are happening nearer to the heart of the city.

I like that I can take my time, linger half an hour more or so in front of my computer, walk to the jeepney stop at my leisure, and still feel rested when I arrive home. I like that I don't feel sticky from the city smog, and that my hair still smells like the shampoo I used in the morning.

I like that there's no traffic, and that sometimes, I'm all alone in the jeep all the way to the 7'11 that marks the entrance to my village.

It can be midnight, one or even three in the morning, and still I feel safe. I've lived here all my life.

This is probably why I didn't know how to react when I saw a man masturbating behind a post along the same walkway I pass through every night. He was hiding, but not exactly hiding, watching everyone passing by as he did his thing.

I could see his body, his hands, and, if I had stopped to look closer, god-knows-what-else. He was standing in the light, a few of the bright spots in front of a building that is still being constructed. I have the impression of an all-brown get-up, no shoes. His hair was big, matted. I don't remember anything else, except the blur of his furiously moving hands.

My first instinct was to pretend I didn't see what he was doing; my not acknowledging it a safety measure, an offer, that all could still be well.

I walked as far away from him as I could on the walkway. Considered looking for one of the security guards to report the man. Reconsidered it. Considered the likelihood that the man was missing a few bolts in his head.

And now I'm home safe, telling my best friend about it on YM, blogging about it, wondering if there was anything more precise that I should have felt, aside from the urge to just blot it out and pretend it hadn't happened.

I'm never good at this

I said goodbye to someone whose acquaintance had brought a small, but unmistakable brightness into my life for the past few weeks.

I enjoyed speaking with you.
It was a pleasure to have met you.
All the best.

But really, what I wanted to say was:

I'll miss you.


Is it Christmas already?

I got home past midnight. These days, it has been my routine to open the inflow valve of our water tank before going to bed. That way, I don't have to wake up at 6am to make sure we collect enough water to last the day.

The house next door is being renovated and the workers are practically living there, so I decided not to switch on the light.

I snuck outside in pitch dark, scared myself by stepping on a piece of coiled wire that sprung back at me like a snake, and dampened my shirt because it was drizzling.

But I was happy to be out, because there it was, on the part of the wall near our water tank: a solitary firefly!


Dragonflies were a huge part of my childhood in the suburbs of Manila. Our house stands at the perimeter of our village. Behind the wall is a squatters area. A little over twenty years ago, it was a grassy field we could go exploring in.

My cousins and I actually went once, and I still have fragmented memories of a huge mango tree, dried snake skin, drinking water from a banana tree trunk, a small rice paddy with snails. I think we brought home muddied slippers and cow dung for my mother's roses that day.

Back then, we would know it was already summer when one of two things happened: the dragonflies would come buzzing, or cogon grass seeds would be floating about.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned this to my mother. I lamented that I'd probably never see anything like that in our village again.

But bless the universe--as I was walking to the back entrance of Southmall last Wednesday, I saw hundreds of them flying near the trees in the parking lot!

If they'd been flying a few feet closer to the concrete, I would have tried to catch one!

I must be doing something wrong

Because it feels a little like last year all over again.

I am searching for the perfect word for this thought that came to me while I was having a shower: as I move forward into love (and loving), I discover that it always takes a form of unraveling. Sometimes disentangling frees you into clarity; sometimes it pulls the rug from under your feet and you come undone.

I think I've experienced both, but neither from the persons I expected them from.

My countdown to 30 has officially begun.

What do you do with a B.A. in English?

Perhaps another reason why I enjoyed Avenue Q was that while I couldn't relate anymore with the angst and "bothers" (the main characters were in their early 20s after all), there were plenty of references to familiar struggles.

As mentioned in Ghostlightning's blog, one song asks, "What do you do with a B.A. in English?"

Not much, according to Avenue Q. But yes:
"Somehow I can't shake,
The feeling I might make,
A difference,
To the human race."
So what have I done with my B.A. in English?

1. Write showbiz articles and The Buzz and Martin Late@Night transcripts for defunct ABS-CBN websites. I suppose this makes me one of the earliest entertainment transcriptionists in the country, because this was way before outsourcing became a trend.
2. Write and edit press releases, feature articles, and marketing copy for The Philippine STAR.

3. Write a teleplay that won me a literary award, but is now like Avenue Q's Gary Coleman: it has already served its purpose as a written text. It will never become a film, which is what gives the teleplay its real value. The subject is passé now. It's high time I write a new one.
4. Write extremely boring and aggressive-by-Filipino-standards copy for IT marketing collateral for a BPO company.

5. Beef up my degree with an MFA in Creative Writing, which I am finishing up. I'm tempted to say it was like adding another useless degree to an already useless one, but it's not, really. Really.
6. Write and a deliver a testimonial to Dr. Cirilo Bautista on his retirement tribute. It was quite funny, even if I should say so myself.

7. Write SEO articles and press releases for extra money. It pays less than peanuts, and I'm not doing much of it anymore. But it was also fun.
8. Write a weekly entertainment column that is published by The Freeman in Cebu. I'm no critic--and I have no plans of being one--so it's all just light-hearted content that has earned me a small, but I guess appreciative, following.

9. Teach English to Europeans. And it's so much fun!
10. I'm now working on my first collection of short stories. I'm now working on my first collection of short stories. I'm not working on my first collection of short stories. :P

I'm not rich yet, but I intend to be. :)

In case you want to hear the song, below is a nice video of someone singing it well. He uploaded it in YouTube. Ghostlightning has the lyrics.

A fine line between love and a waste of time

Saw Avenue Q last weekend. It was wonderful. This song really resonates with me, especially now. It was so hard to find a nice video of it that, at the same time, had a good version of the song.

Fine, Fine Line

There's a fine, fine line between a lover and a friend;
There's a fine, fine line between reality and pretend;
And you never know 'til you reach the top if it was worth the uphill climb.

There's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of time.

There's a fine, fine line between a fairy tale and a lie;
And there's a fine, fine line between "You're wonderful" and "Goodbye."
I guess if someone doesn't love you back it isn't such a crime,
But there's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of your time.

And I don't have the time to waste on you anymore.
I don't think that you even know what you're looking for.
For my own sanity, I've got to close the door
And walk away...

There's a fine, fine line between together and not
And there's a fine, fine line between what you wanted and what you got.
You gotta go after the things you want while you're still in your prime...

There's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of time

Do you remember...

That very first time in September? Sorry, I just couldn't resist. But it just so happens that when the year hits the -ber months, I really do get sentimental, and I start evaluating recent life thus far. It's a little bit tricky, because most of 2007 is, shall we say, life after Juan, whom I last talked to on September 5, 2006.

All in all, though, I think I'm in a good space this year. I haven't blogged much, because I've just been really enjoying my work and enjoying my time off during weekends.

I did so many things. I tried to join Toastmasters Alabang (I had to back out, though, because of scheduling conflicts), I took the whole OCCI seminar trilogy (which really did change the way I live), I splurged on a trip (which was something new for little old homebody me, who used to be content--and happy, actually--with doing most of my travelling in my mind), I signed up for a gym membership, I found a full-time job I love, et cetera.

There are still a number of things I'd like to accomplish for the remaining months of the year: buy a laptop and a digicam, finish my thesis, have a talk with Juan (we're still in touch, but only through text), lose 30 more pounds or so.

And then there are the goals I'd like to attract for myself, like having a weekly column with a national readership, falling in love... you know, stuff. :)

The way I see it, the remaining four months of 2007 is all about getting myself ready for what's going to happen in 2008.

I just know it's going to be great.